Thomas W. Schoener

Thomas Schoener

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences
Center for Population Biology

6328 Storer Hall

Research Interests

Experimental studies of lizard and spider colonization and competition on islands. Experimental food-web manipulation as it affects herbivores, intermediate predators, and producers. Mathematical models of population interactions, territory size, food-web effects, and parasitoid occurrence; feeding strategies; island ecology; lizard population biology; predation; and resource partitioning. Development of methods for estimating home-range area and independence of successive observations. Analysis of size differences among certain hawks and lizards, with reference to the "null-model" controversy in community ecology.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Population Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Community Ecology
  • Population Interactions


  • EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology
  • PBG 200B Principles of Population Biology

Field Sites

  • West Indies: Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico; Cayman Islands; Bermuda; Hispaniola; Australian, Pacific and Asian tropics; Western U.S.; Eastern U.S.; Europe; Balearic Islands.
  • Habitats studied: islands, scrub, dry forest, rainforest, desert, deciduous and mixed forest.


  • 1965 BA Biology Harvard University -
  • 1969 PhD Biology Harvard University


2011 Estes, J. A. …Schoener, T. W…. Trophic downgrading of Planet Earth. Science 333: 3001-3006.

2011 Piovia-Scott, J., D. A. Spiller and T. W. Schoener. Effects of experimental seaweed deposition on lizard and ant predation in an island food web. Science 331: 461-463.

2011 Schoener, T.W. The newest synthesis: Understanding the interplay of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Science 330: 426-429.

2010 Schoener, T.W. and D. A. Spiller. Trophic cascades. Islands. pp. 179-202 in J. Terborgh and J. Estes (Eds.). Trophic Cascades. Island Press. 2010 Spiller, D. A., J. Piovia-Scott, A. N. Wright, L. H. Yang, G. Takimoto, T. W. Schoener and T. Iwata. 2010. Marine subsidies have multiple effects on coastal food webs. Ecology.91:1424-1434.

2009 Schoener, T.W. The MacArthur-Wilson Equilibrium Model: What it said and how it was tested. pp 52-87 in J. B. Losos and R. E. Ricklefs (Eds.). The Theory of Island Biogeography Revisited. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ.

2009 Schoener, T.W. The niche. pp 3-13 in S. Levin (Ed.) Princeton Guide to Ecology. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ

2008 Manicom, C., L. Schwarzkopf, R.A. Alford and T. W. Schoener. Self-made shelters protect spiders from predation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105:14903-14907; published ahead of print , doi:10.1073/pnas.0807107105 Commentary O. J. Schmitz. Predators avoiding predation. PNAS 105:14749-14750; From the Cover: Self-made shelters protect spiders from predation.

2008 Legendre, S., T.W. Schoener, J. Clobert and D. A. Spiller. How is extinction rate related to population-size variability over time? A family of models for species with repeated extinction and immigration. American Naturalist 172: 282-298.

2008 Strauss, S.Y., J.A. Lau, T.W. Schoener and P. Tiffin. Evolution in ecological field experiments: implications for effect size. Ecology Letters 11: 199-207.

2008 Spiller, D.A. and T. W. Schoener. Climatic control of trophic interaction strength: the effect of lizards on spiders. Oecologia 154: 763-771.

2007 Spiller, D.A. and T.W. Schoener. Alteration of island food-web dynamics following major disturbance by hurricanes. Ecology 88:37-41.

2006 Schoener, T.W. and D.A. Spiller. Nonsynchronous recovery of community characteristics in island spiders after a catastrophic hurricane. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103:2220-2226.

2006 Losos, J.B., T.W. Schoener, R.B. Langerhans and D.A. Spiller. Rapid temporal reversal in predator-driven natural selection. Science 314.

2005 Schoener, T.W., J.B. Losos and D.A. Spiller. Island biogeography of populations: An introduced species transforms survival patterns. Science 310:1807-1809.

2004 Losos, J.B., T.W. Schoener and D.A. Spiller. Predator-induced behavior shifts and natural selection in field-experimental lizard populations. Nature 432:505-508.

2003 Schoener, T.W., J. Clobert, S. Legendre and D. Spiller. Life-history models of extinction: A test with island spiders. American Naturalist 162:558-573.

2002 Schoener, T.W., D.A. Spiller and J.B. Losos. Predation on a common Anolis lizard: Can the food-web effects of a devastating predator be reversed? Ecological Monographs 73:383-407.